The rantings of a Public Defender constantly fighting against society's pervasive Police Industrial Complex. Enjoy the unique perspective of one whose life's work is to fight the system through the system.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Scott Peterson

I have no idea if this guy is guilty, although I have my suspicions. I have respect for Mark Geragos as a trial lawyer, first from the Susan McDougal cases, and through some cases in which I've watched him in trial. He strikes me as a terrific advocate, someone who works his butt off for a client and doesn't worry about the public fallout from representing someone who many think is a bad person. Of course, this is the way that defense attorneys should act - they shouldn't be thinking about what society feels about them, they should be focused on the representation of a client.

When I first began working as a public defender, someone put my priorities in order for me in a way I've never forgotten: #1, bar card, #2, client, #3, society.

Thus, you do nothing to jeopardize your bar card while representing a client, but you don't worry about what's in society's best interests when representing them either, as long as you are following the law and not putting your career in jeopardy (I'm sure that I will get plenty of questions throwing out hypotheticals of when I'd hurt society, maybe someone can come up with one that I'll recognize as an exception, you're certainly free to try).

This brings me back to Peterson. I respect Geragos and the work he is doing for Peterson, and maybe he really believes that Peterson is innocent, I've certainly come to that conclusion after meeting a client and working my way through a trial (I've been thoroughly convinced by my own closing at times, only to be crushed the jury was not equally convinced). That being said, there are a few things that look bad on their face for Peterson. I should say, I know little about the detailed facts, and I haven't followed the trial that closely, so there clearly could be good explanations for some of these problems facing Peterson.

1 - How is it that her body is found 80 miles from home, and 2 miles from where he was when she disappeared? This is obviously the linchpin of the prosecution's case (they waited until they found her there to charge him). The only explanation I can think of is that by widely publicizing his alibi to the rest of the world, rather than keeping something like this secret so as to prevent others from using the information in some manner, the police allowed the killer to move her body from the place they had hidden her and put her in the bay so that suspicion would invariably fall on Peterson if they found the body (in contrast to what would have happened if they found her in a shallow grave outside of Modesto).

2 - When they find the body, he hung out in San Diego as if nothing happened, and waited until the news of the DNA match was made public. This is an argument where I have to argue someone's emotions, which is harder to do, since everyone responds to tough situations differently (for instance, all these "shrink" cops who feel they "know" he was acting strange on the night of the disappearance - give me a break, I don't put much credence in that testimony). This seems different to me, though. Assume we know he didn't kill her, and that he's truly distraught over her disappearance and wants to find her more than anything. What would you expect him to do when they claim that they have a potential body? If it were me, or any other reasonable person, I would expect that you would immediately fly up to the bay area and go to where they have the body to try and assure yourself that your wife and child are not dead. By not appearing to show any concern about this, it looks as if he knew that the body was hers, or at least he knew that she was dead and that he didn't need to act immediately. Now, maybe he was in contact with the police, maybe they told him not to come, and that they would let him know the second they knew anything, but even still, I can't shake the feeling that this is something just about any worried husband would have done, regardless of any police admonition not to do anything.

I'm sure as the evidence comes out, more things will become apparent. Supposedly he claims she was wearing certain clothes the day she disapppeared, and they found her in clothes consistent with what she wore the day before, when others last saw her alive, supporting the theory that he killed her the night before and disposed of her body the next day. I don't know about that as very strong evidence, I just think of my wife and the way she changes clothes, or the lack of quality, comfortable clothing she had in the last months of her pregnancies, and I think anything's possible there.

Furthermore, Geragos may have a point about the baby being born alive, disproving the notion that he could've killed her. Then again, it's possible that he beat her to death, which caused the baby to be born, and he then killed the baby as well. This could easily be a double edge sword, because jurors would probably feel much better disposed to voting for death if it is shown that he first killed his wife, then killed his (living) child.

All I have to say is that Geragos has his work cut out for him here. This is why they pay him the big bucks, and I just sit here and blog for free.

5 Comments:

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Blogger A Voice of Sanity said...

The one thing that you can hang your hat on, the one rock solid indisputable fact, is that Laci could not have been in the bay from Dec 24th to April 13th. This eliminates Peterson as the guilty person.

It takes about 28 days for a body in air under normal conditions to become liquid. In water, Casper's Ratio says double this to 56 days. Evelyn Hernandez was in the bay for 84 days and she was completely skeletonized, which confirms the above analysis. How could Laci have been in the bay for 111 days and yet be only partly decomposed?

A much more reasonable hypothesis is that Laci was kept alive until around Feb 20th, when her baby was cut out of her living body, only to die within hours. She survived for 2 or 3 more weeks, which explains her uterus being that much post partum. Her body was dumped off the Albany Bulb 1 or 2 days before she was found. Conner was placed on the shore where found - he was never in the bay.

Is it impossible that she was kept a prisoner like this? Not based on too many Californian crimes and other cases where the baby was cut out of a pregnant woman.

8/11/2007 9:41 PM

 

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